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Senators Begin Campaigning For Biya Ahead Of 2018 Election 

By Yerima Kini Nsom

Senators of the Centre Region have launched campaigns ahead of the presidential election in 2018, saying they want President Biya to run as candidate for the ruling CPDM party.
The Senators mounted the campaign while presenting New Year wishes to Senate President, Marcel Niat Njifenji, at his residence in Yaounde recently.

One of the Senators, Luc Rene Bell, told the press that they were taking their stand on the election before anything else.
“We want President Paul Biya to run for the 2018 presidential election,” he stated.
Ministers of the Centre Region origin were at hand to give the event a heavy political influence.
Given the Senators’ declaration, observers have no doubt that the octogenarian Biya will once more succeed himself as Head of State. This would make him one of the longest-serving presidents in the world.

Biya has been Cameroon’s President for 34 straight years.
During the visit of the French President, Franҫois Hollande, to Yaounde in July 2015, Biya had said 2018 was still far for him to declare whether he was going to vie for another mandate in the presidential election or not.

In an apparent Machiavellian spirit, the President had said those who hang on to power are those who can and not those who want it.
The campaign harbinger by the Senators is akin to the one that the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo, and the late CPDM bigwig, Françoise Foning, mooted in 2008. They had called on President Biya to run for election at the time that the incumbent was expected to quit the stage at the end of his mandate in 2011.

Fame Ndongo and Foning had called for the amendment of the Constitution in which the presidential term limit provision was abrogated, making Biya eligible for the 2011 Presidential election.
The duo’s declaration in 2008 provoked an outburst of motions of support to the effect that Biya should run for the 2011 polls. CPDM Sections, elite, Regions, associations and some businesspeople, joined the motion of support galore, threatening to be very unhappy if Biya did not run in 2011.

The motions of support were published in the government-run daily, Cameroon Tribune, and were later compiled and published in volumes of books known as “The Peoples’ Call”.
The launchings of the publications at the Hilton Hotel were often forums for the Ministers to campaign for the President. After the launching, Biya simply said he had heard and understood them.

Such a scenario virtually disarmed and frustrated a group of some Government officials who were reflecting on the possibility of power change in 2011. Known as the 2011 Generation, G11, the people were later blacklisted and stigmatised as power-hungry ingrates who had been surreptitiously plotting for the premature exit of the “prince”.

Some members of the group fell out with the regime and are today languishing in jail on account of controversial charges of embezzling State funds.

Given that talk is rife within political circles about the likelihood of a Presidential election, every little move now is being interpreted as campaign for Biya.

It is in this light that political observers see the sharing of new cars to Governors of the 10 Regions as part of the bait for the election.
On Wednesday, January 20, 2016, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralisation, Rene Emmanuel Sadi, handed over one Toyota Land Cruiser V8 and one Peugeot 508 to each of the Governors.
The vehicles are part of 177 vehicles to be given to Senior Divisional Officers, SDOs, and the Divisional Officer, DOs.